Chinese Billionaire Robin Li Drops Bid to Buy Streaming Giant iQiyi

Baidu H

The $2.8 billion offering price for the Netflix-like Chinese service had been criticized by shareholders as "far too low."

Chinese billionaire Robin Li, founder and chairman of search giant Baidu, has abandoned his bid to buy control of the company’s streaming video service iQiyi after shareholders voiced disapproval over the proposed price tag.

In February, an investor group led by Li and iQiyi CEO Yu Gong put forward a non-binding proposal to buy out Baidu’s 80.5 percent stake in the streaming video service. The deal valued iQiyi at $2.8 billion.

But on Monday, the group informed iQiyi's board that it was retracting the offer after failing to come to terms.

"As the buyer group and Baidu have not been able to reach an agreement on transaction structure and purchase price after rounds of discussions and negotiations, the buyer group has determined not to proceed,” Baidu said in a statement.

U.S. hedge fund Acacia Partners had led the shareholder revolt against the proposed takeover, publishing an open letter criticizing the offering price as “far too low” and putting forward an outside valuation of $5.8 billion.

One of China's leading Netflix-like SVOD services, iQiyi reported in June that it had 20 million paid subscribers.